Growing School Food Gardens

 View Only
  • 1.  Summer Garden Watering and Harvesting

    Posted 05-21-2023 09:36:00 PM
      |   view attached

    Summer break is here or almost here, and if you help manage a school garden or if you're considering starting a school garden, you might be wondering, "Who takes care of the garden during the summer?"  Some schools choose not to grow warm season crops over the summer months, but some do with great success and are able to start the school year in August with mature plants producing many fruits.

    Our school garden in Ohio falls into the latter category, and by growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and other "summer crops" we're able to add another dimension to the school garden in the form of family involvement. Students plant the summer crops during school in May, and before the school year is over our volunteer garden team sends out a Sign Up Genius to all parents and guardians, giving them an opportunity to sign up to water and harvest the garden during the summer. We list sign up dates for every other day, and we empower families with information about how to know if they need to water, watering best practices, and harvesting, and we include talking points to make it an educational activity for the whole family (see attachment).

    I still remember the time I visited the garden when a family was there for their watering/harvesting day. The second grader told her dad, "I LOVE purple kale!" He responded, "Why? Because it's purple?", to which she exclaimed, "No! Because it tastes good!!", as she tore off a leaf and took a big bite! :) 

    Inviting families to water and harvest, and giving them the knowledge and tools to be successful, beautifully engages our community. Not only do parents/guardians and students feel empowered by the ownership of the space, but it's a great family bonding experience. 

    How do you manage summer watering and harvesting or other summer gardening maintenance? Let's share our tips! And if you have questions, we'd love to offer ideas to help!

    Amber Keller
    Kids Gardening Community Connector
    Massachusetts Master Gardener
    Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator
    Natick, MA


  • 2.  RE: Summer Garden Watering and Harvesting

    Posted 05-21-2023 10:51:00 PM
    I'm a newbie at my daughters school garden 1 year taken on the person in charge., getting it going and the up keep of it all is quit a bit. We have had two spring up: lil showed up at the first one mom and her two boys n the PTA prez n her daughter n I my kids where with there dad. Second one the garden gain a dad n his son, whom helping fix the shed ramp cuz there is no tools nor electric for power tools, so really counting on being eco friendly n see whom can do some of the things. I'm �� for more grants to help get more eco friendly things that are too self Sufficient like a 3-n-1 lawnmower/Weedwhacker/ edger. Getting $ for  cement block to enforce the beds and working on the compost bins more updated, water for this garden is on the top Priority while getting water storage ect wheew... lot more how's on. 
        If you got any advice or anything that could help please let me know. The sign up genus is on the list too to see how many would be interested in the summer. 


  • 3.  RE: Summer Garden Watering and Harvesting

    Posted 05-22-2023 04:34:00 PM

    Thank you for sharing!  This document is so well thought out.  I love the map and photos.  It looks like you have a wonderful outdoor learning space!

    Karen Fleming